Over the past nearly two decades, along with my current students, post-doctoral fellows, former students, post-doctoral scholars and long term collaborators , I have worked on millisecond pulsars, old neutron stars, young neutron stars, brown dwarfs, soft gamma-ray repeaters, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, new types of optical transients and instrumentation. I love surfing the electromagnetic spectrum, building new gizmos and developing new methodologies. My current focus is the Robo-AO the first robotic adaptive optics system (Rayleigh scattering) on the Kitt Peak 88-inch telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) aimed at an exploration of the transient sky (brighter than 21 mag; first light IMMINENT)). ZTF is based on the Palomar Transient Factory and the Spectral Energy Distribution Machine, a robotic spectrograph. In development: STARE, a search for Galactic versions of Fast Radio Bursts (at OVRO) and ULTRASAT, a Weizmann-Caltech space-based project to search and study transients in the ultra-violet.
My publications can be found via ADS A CV and bibliography can be found above. I enjoy teaching (not sure if it is reciprocated by the students, though). In AY 2016 I taught Ay122b (Radio instrumentation; w/Hallinan; Winter), Freshmen Seminar (Automated discovery of the Universe); Winter) and Ay126 (Interstellar Medium) (Spring). In the past I have taught Ay122ab (Techniques & Measurements), Ay 123 (Stars), Ay102 (ISM), Ay 125 (High Energy Astronomy), Ay126 (ISM), Stars (Ay126), FS/Ay3 and served as section leader for Ph1A-C.
My MO (modus operandi) is to identify fields before they become interesting and leave the field once it becomes popular. I have a rather strong view that data collection must be driven by a strong desire to deeply understand the physics of the underlying phenomenon. To this end, IMNHO, observers should have deep technical skills in the area of their research AND must have an excellent grasp of basic physics. Naturally, I make a point to interact with theorists quite extensively. I admire George Ellery Hale for his visionary leadership (it is the telescopes which make discovery possible) and the contrarian Fritz Zwicky for his creativity.
I hold the George Ellery Hale Professorship of Astronomy. In 2006 I assumed the Directorship of the Caltech Optical Observatories (which include the Palomar Observatory, the W. M. Keck Observatory partnership and the Thirty Meter Telescope partnership). Starting 2009 I have chaired the Physical Sciences Panel of the Infosys Science Foundation .
I a fellow (or member) of the American Society of Arts & Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Indian Academy of Science and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2007, Cornell University conferred on me the title of Andrew D. White Professor-at-large and in 2015 I received an Honorary doctorate from Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL. Other honors can be found here.
I was born in the principality of Kurundwad (India) and grew up in Hubli (Karnataka). I was fortunate in that I attended excellent institutions, had inspiring teachers and was surrounded by peer group comparable or better than me: Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School), Hubli; the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (MS, Applied Physics) and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD; the guru lineage). I am indebted to the tax payers of India and the state of California for supporting my education not only at no cost but providing scholarships or assistantships.
I welcome enquiries from hard working, passionate and independendent minded students and post-docs.
Pasadena, California; October, 2017. N=63, S=6 (40,440; 102)     unix